Aksum An African Civilisation of Late Antiquity Stuart Munro-Hay



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Kawa (Laming-Macadam, M. F., The Temples of Kawa, I, The Inscriptions, London 
1949: 117-8), these inscriptions are the only ones found on Meroitic territory. New 
versions have at last succeeded to those of Sayce (1909 and 1912).  
Meroë I. Greek. Translation of Bersina (1984). 
. . . king of the Aksumites and Himyarites . . . immediately attack those who rival . . . did 
not submit contrary . . . kingdoms(?) to them, and I destroyed the . . . the said ones, 
heading for this place . . . originating from another ten . . . with the king as far as . . . 
most of all in Sue . . . chiefs and all their children . . . I came immediately . . . to your 
homes . . . besides the fruit (tribute) . . . copper . . . years 21 (or 24?). . . . 
As a good example of the difficulties of these inscriptions in their broken and worn state, 
the interpretation by Hägg (1984: see also his forthcoming note in  Meroitic Newsletter) is 
contrasted; it appears to fit well with the usual phraseology and content of Aksumite 
inscriptions. 
of Axum and Himyar . . . [son of the invincible god] Ares. When [the people of] . . . 
disputed . . . I conveyed from . . . (?) and I pillaged the . . . (?) having arrived here . . . is 
produced, and another (or (women) of noble birth and another) . . . together with the king 
as far as . . . most (things) in the . . . generals and children . . . I went against [the?] at 
once . . . I shall [?] to you . . . subject to pay tribute . . . a bronze [statue?] . . . 21 (or 24).  
Meroë II. Greek. Translation of Hägg (1984). 
. . . of Ares . . . having arrived here I sat down . . . giving [as a recompense? . . .] . . . [to 
Ares] this throne.  
The Inscriptions of Ezana.  
DAE 4. Greek, from the three-script versions DAE 4, 6 and 7. 
The Campaign against the Beja; (I). Aeizanas, king of the Aksumites, the Himyarites, 
Raeidan, the Ethiopians, the Sabaeans, Silei (Salhen), Tiyamo, the Beja and Kasou, king 
of kings, son of the unconquered god Ares. Since the people of the Beja rose up, we sent 
our brothers Saiazana and Adefan to fight them. When these had taken arms against the 
enemy, they made them submit and they brought them to us with their dependents, with 
3112 head of cattle, 6224 sheep, and beasts of burden. My brothers gave them meat and 
wheat to eat, and beer, wine and water to drink, all to their satisfaction whatever their 
number. There were six chiefs with their peoples, to the number of 4400 and they 
received each day 22,000 loaves of wheat and wine for four months, until my brothers 
had brought them to me. After having given them all means of sustenance, and clothed 
them, we installed these prisoners by force in a place in our land called Matlia. And we 
commanded again that they be given supplies; and we accorded to each chief 25,140 
head of cattle.  
In sign of recognition to he who engendered us, the unconquered Ares, we have raised 
statues to him, one of gold, one of silver, and three others of brass, to his glory.  


DAE 6 and 7 are written respectively in the epigraphic South Arabian and unvocalised 
Ge`ez scripts, and are more or less the same as DAE 4 in content. The dedications at the 
end are to Astar, Beher and Mahrem (DAE 6), and Astar, Meder and Mahrem (DAE 7). 
The land of Matlia is referred to as Dawala-BYRN in these versions (according to 
Littmann; Schneider (1984: 155) reads the phrase as "the land MD, a region of our 
country", supported by the as yet unpublished new version noted below), and both also 
end with a curse formula against anyone damaging the inscription and the record of extra 
gifts to Mahrem.  
The Geza `Agmai inscription (DAE 4, 6 and 7 bis). 
Three more versions of the same inscription as above (DAE 4, 6 and 7), also in Greek
epigraphic South Arabian, and unvocalised Ge`ez scripts, translated by Bernand 1982.  
Greek.  
The Campaign against the Beja (II). Aeizanas, king of the Aksumites, Himyarites and 
Raeidan, the Ethiopians, the Sabaeans and Silei, Tiamo and the Beja and Kasu, king of 
kings, son of the invincible god Ares. When once the Beja tribe revolted, we sent our 
brothers Sazanan and Adiphan to make war upon them, and when they came back, 
having made them submit, they led them to us with their entire horde and their animals, 
3112 cattle, 6224 sheep and 677 beasts of burden, feeding them with cattle, wheat, wine, 
mead, beer and water to satiety, during four months, amounting to 4400 people, 
provisioned each day with 22,000 loaves, until I had changed their residence. These 
people who had been brought to us, after having granted them all that was necessary for 
them, having clothed them and changed their residence, we established them in a part of 
our territory called Matlia and ordered that they be further provided there, giving to 
each kinglet 4190 cattle, so that the six kinglets had 25,140 cattle. As a thank -offering to 
the invincible Ares who begat me, we consecrated to him a statue of gold, one of silver, 
and three of bronze. I have consecrated this stele, and dedicated it to Heaven, the Earth, 
and the invincible Ares who begat me. Should anyone wish to damage it, may the god of 
Heaven and Earth lead him to ruin, and his name cease to exist in the land of the living. 
In gratitude this has been consecrated for well-being. Furthermore we have consecrated 
to the invincible Ares a COY'ATE and a BE?IE.  
The deities mentioned are named by the Ge`ez and South Arabian script versions as 
Astar, Beher and Mahrem; Beher here is definitely associated with the earth (
Ch. 10: 1
). 
These versions render the last but one line as a formula not dissimilar to the coin- mottoes 
which seem to have begun with Ezana's Christian issues (Schneider 1984, 1987), and the 
Ge`ez version also adds the extra line found in the Greek versionAnd as we have erected 
(this stele), let it be propitious for us and for our country forever. And we have offered to 
Mahrem a SWT and a BDH; both terms of unknown meaning.  
DAE 9. Vocalised Ge`ez. 



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